Thirteen-year-old “Abby” is the youngest child of four. She would spend her days hanging out with her friends at school and at night, like most children her age, she enjoyed browsing through Facebook and Instagram. She had recently connected with a boy her age through Facebook and had fun chatting with him. Little did Abby know this was no boy at all. This was a twenty-year-old man, who was trying to recruit young girls into prostitution. He never told her he was going to put her to work. He simply told her all the things a young girl wants to hear from her suitor. Soon, Abby ended up on the streets working for this man against her will. All she was looking for was an innocent friendship with a young boy online. But she never found that boy. Abby, is one of thousands of young American girls who authorities say have been abducted or lured from their normal lives and made into sex slaves. When people think go human trafficking they think of all the young girls brought to the United States to be sold. People do not think it happens right here in America.
Why Human Trafficking Matters
Imagine that Abby is your sister, family member, or friend. Imagine all the things that Abby has gone through. She went from being a straight A student to being sold in the sex trade industry. Abby is not alone in this, because there are more than 2 million girls and boys being subjected to this yearly. Not only are these children being raped, they are also forced to use drugs. Due to the tortuous and traumatic conditions, an average life span of a sex trafficking victim is reported to be seven years as most are found dead from attack, abuse, HIV and other STDs, malnutrition, overdose, or suicide. The victims estimated ages are between 11 and 14 years old.
Who Are These Children?
According to US sources, children are most targeted by traffickers because they are found to be easier to manipulate as well as are able to earn predators more money. While there are many victims who are like Abby, there are also victims who have no other way to survive. Many of these children are the thrown away, homeless, or runaways. These youths result to using sex to secure survival needs such as shelter, clothing or food.
As a result of their circumstances, many of these youth will suffer long term health problems including trauma related issues such as anxiety, fear, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Victims often suffer from drug addiction, sleep disorders, sexually transmitted diseases and eating disorders. These are just a few of the long list of lifelong issues that victims will deal with on top of the burden of guilt and shame.
Ready to Learn More?
Join us August 8th, 2017 as we continue our APYD Best Practices for Youth Conference workshops where we will focus on Crisis Intervention for Prostitution and Child Trafficking. The first event of the day will be an expert Q&A panel featuring Kristie Holmes, PhD, LCSW, who specializes in topics related to global health, gender, and media and the impact of technology on social relationships; and Terri O’Donnell, a mental health therapist with extensive experience working with women and men with histories of trauma and addiction. Following this session will be a presentation by, Jan Miyasaki, the director of Project Respect, a Dane County, Wisconsin-based social service agency that provides services to adults and juveniles victimized in sex-trafficking and prostitution. The lecture will consist of a discussion educating the attendees on the life altering issues faced by sexually exploited youth.
If you want to increase your awareness of human trafficking and learn how you can be a part of the solution; register to be part of this unique virtual conference experience for free at http://sisgigroup.org/apydcon2017.